In the coming weeks, I want to blog about a typical day on board; tell little stories of routines and big stories of adventures, in pictures; introduce you to some of the characters from my journey; familiarize you with the beautiful Antigua; and talk a little about my writing work on board.
I want to start, though, with a simple series of landscape photos, just to give a sense of atmosphere. For two weeks, with the exception of one day when we docked at the research station in Ny-Ålesund, we were alone on both land and sea. At the beginning of our trip, on October 1, we had about 10 and a half hours of daylight. As the trip progressed, we began to lose daylight steeply, as much as 40 minutes per day, such that when we returned to Longyearbyen on October 15, we had about 6 and a half hours of daylight. Can you imagine such a change, over the course of two weeks?
It made for some dramatic and moody skies.
Notice, in these pictures, how often my camera would reach for the Antigua in the distance :o). While I took these pictures, I was cold, in a remote and vast place where wind and ice were the only sounds. Often I was on land, a Zodiac-ride away from the ship, for hours. The Antigua in the distance meant warmth and home.
I’ll start with the map of our route around the western and northwestern coast of Spitsbergen. I won’t be identifying locations in this post — forgive me, but it would add a couple of hours to this posting, and I don’t have that tonight — but I do want you to have a general idea of where we were. Please do click on the pictures to embiggen and also see them in higher resolution/better quality. These pictures are insufficient to express the range of what we saw — but I will fill that out more in coming posts!
Hopefully, if you embiggen this, you’ll be able to make out our route, numbered along the black line.
A day of still waters.
One of many glaciers, glowing blue.
Artists dotting the landscape.
Sailing through sea ice in the north.
The sun was always low.
Ridges, glacier, ice, snow.
Clouds creating a matching formation with the peaks below.
Not much light, on one of the short days near the end of the trip.
The Antigua is tiny in this picture, can you find her?